Palm for Sale: Is This The End?
In some small way, we owe a debt to Palm. For a period of time, nothing was more ubiquitous in mobile computing than the Palm Pilot. But as Palm’s technology fell behind, so did their popularity, until their last ditch efforts — the Palm Pre and WebOS. But even among strong admirers (despite lukewarm reviews) it looks like it’s too little too late. Bloomberg is reporting that Palm has put itself up for sale. Here’s the scoop on the potential end to Palm as we know it…
Bloomberg says that Palm is looking for bids on the company, allegedly as early as this week. What’s known for sure is that Palm is working with Goldman Sachs and Qatalyst as partners to help find Palm a buyer.
And who would the buyer be? Everyone from Dell, Lenovo, and HTC have been probed as potential buyers. But no one has officially made a statement, because officially, a sale has not been announced yet.
So what would a potential buyer be getting from Palm? Obviously, WebOS would be an instant addition. Although the operating system hasn’t gained popularity for developers, that doesn’t mean the underlying technology isn’t worth anything. And for what it’s worth, it’s a solid OS for a smartphone.
Bloomberg contests that acquisition of WebOS would be advantageous for companies looking to compete against Google and Apple, but this blogger thinks that WebOS isn’t the real crown jewel of Palm, their patented technology behind the devices and inside the OS that is.
Of course, there’s a bit of talk about Apple or Google scooping Palm up instead of waiting for someone to compete with them. Google might want to borrow the hardware and throw Android OS on it, but that’s purely speculation on my part. MacRumors.com offers an interesting perspective on the Palm and Apple relationship.
Calling it “frosty” as of late, Palm had apparently recruited a bunch of former Apple excepts as employees to help WebOS gain a corner of the market. But Apple could have a reason to buy it up because of issues over the swiping and multi-touch gestures. The contested ownership of patents seem to never end.
On top of that, Apple and Palm jousted over Palm Pre syncing compatibility with iTunes. Since the inception of the Palm Pre, Palm had been ‘spoofing’ the USB vendor code for the Palm Pre to make it appear as an iPod or iPhone and sync with iTunes. Apple has sued Palm over it, and in each subsequent iTunes edition has patched the ability for Pre to work with iTunes. So, Apple, who has a bucket of money could buy the company and bury it forever.
But the bottom line is that Palm is dying — and needs a buyer to potentially breathe new life into the platform.
And lastly, maybe worth noting: Will any big channel companies look into buying Palm to help deliver better mobile solutions?